Clermont-Ferrand, France – Michelin has opened a new plant in South Carlina, US, to produce, on a commercial level, its Tweel Airless radial tires.
An idea first conceived by Michelin research engineers in the US, the Tweel represents a significant departure from conventional tire designs. The non-pneumatic product brings together the tire and the wheel assembly into one solid unit.
The Tweel comprises a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit. The ‘airless' feature is said to solve the challenge of flat tires for end users.
“Differentiating us from competitors, the Tweel airless radial tire is the industry’s first commercialised airless radial solutions,” said Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies.
“The Tweel airless radial tire enables Michelin to enter new markets and expand its reach in existing business segments within the low-speed application category.”
The new 135,000 square-foot facility in Piedmont, SC, is Michelin’s 10th facility in South Carolina and 16th in the US. The company will invest about $50 million (€40m) in the new plant.